Saying No to Federal Funds

It is the Capitol Hill equivalent of the "Man Bites Dog" headline: While most members of Congress, regardless of ideological stripe, battle to garner federal funds for their districts, an Indiana legislator is saying "thanks but no thanks" to $4.5 million allocated to his constituency.

Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., has written to House Appropriations Chairman Robert Livingston, R-La., saying he would rather have the money spent to reduce the national debt than used for a local wetlands project, according to the Indianapolis Star-News.

"I know it is unusual for a congressman to write and ask you to withhold spending in his own district, but I hope you will consider this request," Hostettler told Livingston.

The money would be used to purchase and develop 8,000 acres of wetlands for tourism and hunting.

Hostettler's move comes despite the fact that a fellow Republican, Senate Agriculture Chairman Richard Lugar, Indiana's senior senator, not only supports the project, but helped obtain a grant for it from the Agriculture Department.

But Hostettler called the plan a "boondoggle" that would take 8 percent of Greene County's farmland out of production, while creating environmental and regulatory problems for other landowners.

Officials of the state Natural Resources Department were caught off guard by Hostettler's action.

"We are surprised. No one thought something like this was coming," a spokesman said. "This is perhaps the last opportunity in Indiana to obtain public land like this."

And, reciting a familiar argument, the spokesman contended, "This is federal money that will be spent elsewhere, whether we use it or not."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.